Cub Scout pack holding annual school night

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Cub Scout Pack 385 will hold its School Night for Scouting meeting Thursday from  6:30-8 p.m. at the Methodist Ministry Center on Newsom Street. 

This is a great time for parents to ask questions about scouting and register their children.  

Scouts is open to males and females enrolled in kindergarten through senior in public or private school or homeschool. Prospective members can sign up for scouts anytime throughout the year.

Cubmaster Neal Duncan, along with the committee, including Margo Duncan, David Johnson and Judy Johnson, have put together an exciting program for 2019-20.  

September - Star gazing at the Mineola Nature Preserve

October - Camp Wisdom Camping Trip in Dallas

November - Mineola Veteran’s Day Parade

December - airplane rides at Collins Field

January - Pinewood derby

February - roller skating in Golden

March - Texas Freshwater Fisheries in Athens

April- Medieval Times in Dallas

May - Splash Kingdom in Canton

June - Kid Fish at Lake Fork

July - Flag retirement ceremony at the Mineola Civic Center

August - overnight stay at Caldwell Zoo in Tyler

Parents are encouraged to be involved in scouting events with their children, but parent involvement is only required for scouts in kindergarten and first grade.  

Neal Duncan has been involved with Mineola scouting for four years, and this is his third year as cub master.  He is passionate about his work in the community and with the scouts. 

“Scouting changes lives.  It broadens the perspective of young people by allowing them to do things like ride in an airplane,” he said. “Once they see their house and their school from an airplane, they’ll never look at the world the same again.”  

He believes everything in the community is inherently tied together. 

“We can’t succeed separately. If one suffers, all suffer. If education and opportunities suffer, crime increases, and quality of life suffers.”  

Duncan is confident that by investing time in the youth, the entire community will be stronger. 

“A lasting effect on the community starts with our children,” he said.

For the last year and a half, Duncan has been working on his Wood Badge. This is an advanced, national leadership course open only to Scouting volunteers and professionals, with the purpose of developing skilled leaders who can strengthen the Scouting units of America.  The origins of the Wood Badge date back to the first course directed by Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting, in 1919. He gave each participant one of the beads he had captured from the African chieftain Dinizulu. Now, volunteers who complete the course receive a certificate, a small neckerchief, a leather slide, and two small wooden beads on a leather thong.

The Wood Badge course is the highest level of training for an adult leader and includes two 3-day weekends and five service projects.  Since he was only briefly involved in Cub Scouts as a child, working on this badge has been instrumental in his understanding of scouting.  

As a Wood Badge candidate, Duncan has to complete his five service tickets by mid-October.  In 2018, he established the July 4th flag retirement ceremony, and it is now an annual event.  Even though he had much emergency medical training during his six years of involvement in search and rescue, he has attended and completed a rapid response medical training course.  

He has also established and designed a Wood County Scouting neckerchief, being made by Candy Fry.  

Recently, Duncan installed two bat houses (built by Polly Jones) under the Dr. John Thomas Bridge at the Mineola Nature Preserve as one of his tickets.  

His last ticket is to install a ten-flag orienteering course at the Mineola Nature Preserve. Orienteering combines racing with navigation. Participants in this sport are given a topographical, specially prepared orienteering map and a compass which they use to find control points. Expert orienteers can be dropped any place on earth with a map and a compass and find their way out.  

Duncan is thankful for Mineola’s city staff, including Nickey Minyard and Polly Jones, who have helped him in this endeavor, and for the Nature Preserve, which is a great resource for this community. 

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